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How Do You Handle the Stress of Being a DBA?


How Do You Handle the Stress of Being a DBA?

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Ben Moorhouse
Ben Moorhouse
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Lempster (1/21/2010)
...the majority of companies I've worked for tend to see DBAs as more of a necessary evil rather than essential members of an IT team.......maybe that's just a reflection on my poor choices of employer though!

Lempster

I'd suggest that it's more that you're a good DBA (not that I've seen you work) - a good DBA should seem like an insurance policy to an "outsider", their work only becoming obvious when things go wrong with this miraculous speedy data thingy.
So the fact that you're a "necessary evil" suggests that they're not getting to see your Fix-It skills very often (a good thing).
Lempster
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Thanks Ben! I'm going to print your comment and take it to my next performance review ;-)
Ben Moorhouse
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Go for it - it's true isn't it! A DBAs biggest aim is to maintain the databases; keeping them running nice and smoothly and preparing for the worst.
Lempster
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Ben Moorhouse (1/21/2010)
...A DBAs biggest aim is to maintain the databases; keeping them running nice and smoothly and preparing for the worst.


It is, but I also think that (depending on what type of DBA you are and where your interests lie) a DBA has much more to offer, e.g. working with a Data Architect during database design, reviewing code/stored procedures written by developers, helping to raise the profile of BI within a company etc.
The days of the purely operations-based DBA (backup/restore adhoc T-SQL queries) are coming to an end IMHO and we need to have many more strings to our bow. This represents a great opportunity for the pro-active DBA to raise his/her profile within an organisation and it is with this thought in mind that I refer to the stress and frustration caused when despite their best efforts, the true value of a DBA is not recognised.

Right, I'll get off my soap box now!

Regards
Lempster
Open Minded
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i went two years alcoholic. i am trying to get off for a month now by having beer laced with gin only, no more vodka laced with gin. w00t
majorbloodnock
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Without trying to devalue this topic's importance, I'd point out that many of the points in the article are not DBA issues; they're business and management issues. "Being told to do one thing by one manager, but then being told to do something completely different by another manager" is certainly not unique just to IT, let alone DB-related IT, and the roots of that problem are far from technical. Ditto "being assigned a project without the necessary resources and time to complete it successfully". I could go on, and I've no doubt everyone else could too.

Nonetheless, employment these days appears to be far more pressured typically than it ever was before, presumably due to the drive for achieving more and better, quicker with less. It can also often be difficult for someone to keep focussed on the idea that most of us work to live rather than the other way round. I'm lucky, since the company for which I work pays very close attention to whether or not people are maintaining their work/life balance, and even more attention to spotting the early signs of adverse stress and tackling them (where possible) before they become an issue. I wish more companies operated in the same way.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Eduard
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about:
- Many DBAs don’t work typical 40 hour weeks. Many work weeknights, weekends, and holidays, all without any overtime pay.

i think dba's can blame themselves a bit also. if you just do everything and only know the word yes: the demand on you as dba will only grow. sometimes you have to hit the break. realize that keeping your self in a good shape is also important for the company. i've noticed people in general forget that part often. the ultimate "hit the break" is finding a new employer.

in my opinion an ideal dba also has good communication and influential skills and is aware of the human (political) environment around him/her. i say ideal cause i've only seen one dba who mastered that (not me). this part, if by heart your a technical person, is difficult. it's probably why some dba's are called "senior".
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Brad,
Great article!

I find that physical activities away from being a DBA help. I lift weights 4x a week and train in Kempo, Arnis and Aikido 4x a week. Helps manage the stress, and keeps me in pretty good shape.Cool

Mark
Miz Zahan
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i work on average 10 hours a day.. paid less than US$2000 a month (salary+allowances) and can save about US$50 only.. being a 2nd level DBA, i have to be on standby outside office hours including weekends for at least one week per month, and no overtime pay for that, just time-off..
going home with all the stresses, but somehow, they are gone when I see the cheerful face of my daughter..
Ben Moorhouse
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Very hard to do, esp when the little ones have been driving their mother mental all day!
Glad she has that relaxing affect on you though! Smile
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